One of the most common spots for drafts in a home is through cracks around your door—specifically, the bottom of the door. Drafts can cost you energy dollars, but a quick and easy way to seal the bottom of a drafty door is to install a door sweep.
Today, we’re adding a door sweep to two doors, which closes the gap between the bottom of the door and the floor. The first example works well on floors that are relatively level from side to side in the doorway. The second type of door sweep works well when a floor is very much out of level, or where there are large differences in height between one side of the door and the other.
Door sweep: flexible, vinyl, finned sweep
On this door, we’re installing a door bottom that includes a flexible, vinyl, finned sweep that seals and fills the gap under a door.
Step 1: Remove old door bottom
The existing sweep on this door is clearly from yesteryear, and the rubber bottom is brittle or even missing—leaving a sizable gap under the door where cold air and pests can enter. After removing the old door sweep, wipe down the door to remove loose dirt.
Step 2: Measure and cut door sweep to width
Door sweeps generally come 36" wide because that's the widest that common-sized doors tend to be. At the bottom of your door, measure the width of the door and cut the door bottom to that length. Using a hacksaw, cut the metal door bottom; using scissors, cut the finned vinyl insert. It’s important to note that if you have to shorten the sweep by quite a bit, you may want to split the length you cut off between each end so the mounting holes remain near the ends.
Step 3: Crimp for vinyl insert
To keep the vinyl insert fixed in place so it doesn't slide out, crimp or pinch the aluminum door bottom with pliers at each end to pin the vinyl insert in place.
Step 4: Crimp for in-swing door
Our door bottom has a drip cap built into it, which channels any driving rain away from the door. If your door swings inward (and most do), you’ll want to crimp the drip edge inward so the door will open fully without binding on the door frame.
This is easily done with pliers on door bottoms made of aluminum.
Step 5: Mount the door bottom
Position the door bottom with the finned sweep in place so the vinyl seal compresses about 1/16” against the floor or threshold. This amount of compression is enough to form a seal, but generally so much so that it makes the door hard to open and close.
Drill 1/8” pilot holes in the center of the slotted holes, then fasten the door bottom in place with screws.
Step 6: Make final adjustments
If necessary, loosen the screws slightly, move the door bottom in the slotted holes to the correct height, and retighten. Remember, the vinyl seal compresses about 1/16" against the floor or threshold—this is enough to seal, but not so much that it makes the door hard to swing.
No more big gap under the door and lower energy bills in the future—this new door sweep makes all the difference!
Door sweep: "flexomatic" sweep
This door swings inward over an uneven floor, which is common in some older homes.
The uneven floor creates a challenge for a door sweep like we used on our first door, so we’ve used a different kind of sweep here—one that swings up and out of the way when the door is opened.
Step 1: Measure and cut door sweep
Measure the distance between the sides of the door frame at the bottom of the door.
Deduct 1/16” from this measurement and cut the door sweep to that width. Use a hacksaw to cut the metal and use scissors to cut the vinyl sweep. Here's an important note: if you have to shorten the sweep by a large amount, take some off each end so the mounting holes will remain near the ends and not several inches away from the cut end.
Step 2: Crimp ends
Now that the sweep is the correct length, crimp both ends of the metal flange to pinch the vinyl sweep and keep it in place.
Step 3: Mount door sweep onto door
Following the instructions for our door sweep, we measured up from the threshold 2 5/16” and marked that spot on the outside of the door. This height marks the top, horizontal edge for the door sweep.
Fasten the door sweep in place using the screws provided. Note that the holes in the sweep are slightly oval. Place the screw in the center of the hole (up and down)—this will allow some slight adjustment in the future by loosening the screws, moving the sweep up or down, and retightening the screws.
Step 4: Install stop roller
The stop roller is what the door sweep will hit just as the door hits the final closed position. It pushes the sweep downward to make a tight seal against the threshold.
Install the stop roller on the lock side of the door frame at a height 1 1/8” above the floor or threshold.
Step 5: Test
Open and close the door several times to make sure the “flexomatic” door sweep swings up and out of the way when opening, while swinging down and creating a nice seal when closed. Adjust the stop roller or height of the sweep if necessary.
We love this “flexomatic” door sweep and how it allows the door to open easily over an uneven floor, while creating a tight seal when the door is closed.
Use either of these door sweeps to keep drafts out of your home—and keep money in your wallet. Make sure to check out the first installment of this series, where we share how to weather strip your doors to eliminate drafts. Looking for other maintenance projects? Take a look at our DIY on replacing a broken door latch, or get inspired by our fall home maintenance guide.